Bible verse: Proverbs 16:17 "The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives."
Insight: What does "the highway of the upright" mean? To quote Robert Frost, it is the road less traveled because it is the one that is the most difficult—it is the path that seeks to avoid sin in our lives. This passage is clear about what it takes to join the highway of the upright. Avoiding sin is hard because as humans in a fallen world we gravitate toward sin. The beauty is that as Christians we have the ability to lean on God's word and what he considers right and wrong. The convictions He gives are for a reason, and as we lean into those convictions we are able to turn away from sin and grow who we are for God's glory and shape ourselves to be more and more like Him. We may begin to feel stagnant in our faith and become used to the way that we go about our lives. We may pray every now and then, maybe even go to church every week, but if at the core we are not seeking God in every aspect of our lives and keeping Him as the true center, we are stagnant. This passage doesn't give us a formula "just don't sin" and that's it, rather it gives insight into our actions that can either hurt or glorify God. We can be the least sinful person alive but if our heart is not in accordance with God's, what does it amount to? This passage brings to light the ability we have as Christ-followers to honor Him in our actions and avoid sin. We get to take the highway of the upright because we serve a gracious God that we strive to honor in our actions.
Work application: We face temptation in every part of our lives. We may feel the need to harbor anger during work or feel tempted to lie about the work we produce. God makes it very clear that we have to stray from sin. Our work ethic comes from taking on this integrity and having the ability to lean on God's word. The more we stray away from sin and learn from the mistakes we've made, the more that we learn and grow as a person in and out of the office. There are so many instances that we have to choose the highway of the upright. Imagine an instance where you work for a company that is conducting business very poorly, actually goes against your beliefs, and has immoral business practices, however, you make the income you have always hoped to make. You would have to choose between avoiding the company that goes against your faith or keeping the job and making the income you had always wanted to make. Which choice do you think this passage would lead you to? The highway of the upright may be the hardest path to take, but our faith in Christ should be at the pinnacle of the road we follow. Sarah Y. Tse, co-author of From Illusion to Reality speaks on the need that we as Christians have to gauge how deep or shallow our faith in God is. She explains that we need to define whether God is a priority in our lives because if He is our decisions should flow from our relationship with Him. Let's strive to keep Christ at the center of who we are.
Grateful: I am grateful that God pushes me to stray away from sin because He knows what is best for me. I am grateful for His forgiveness and the grace He has given me.
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Contributor: Jessica Carrera holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in Biblical Studies from Biola University. She aspires to touch the lives of others through her words.